Spook Spotter: Vintage Blow Mold Style Black Cat at Michael’s

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Available now at Michael’s, what is sure to be one of the best finds of the Halloween 2019 season, this hard plastic black cat, designed to look like a vintage blow mold.

Black Cat Blow Mold Michael's

Black Cat Blow Mold Michael’s

The cat, like a traditional blow mold, is hollow, but the plastic is thick and there is no place for a light even if you were to consider lighting it.  That being said, the design and paint is downright gorgeous, hearkening back to the decorations of Halloweens past.   The black cat is an original design that incorporates a rather familiar face.  The jack-o’-lantern on which the cat sits is the same face sculpt as the old Empire “Hobo Jack-o’-Lantern” blow mold.  This one of a kind, 15″ throwback decoration is available at Michael’s stores now for the price of $18.00.

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Spook Spotter: The Best Halloween Treats of 2015

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Big Scare spook spotter

Ghastly Greetings, Boils and Ghouls!  The Big Scare is extremely pleased with the treats available in spooky stores this year.  Not only have the major candy makers stepped up their game with fang-tastic Halloween packaging, but the amount of non-traditional Halloween treats is also on the rise.  Today, we highlight some of the awfully awesome treats you can find in a retailer near you.

The following does not constitute an endorsement of any product or retailer.   It is for information purposes only.

First up, fans of “blind box” toys will love Lego’s newest Halloween offerings.  Minifigure Series 14 is dedicated to lovers of Halloween, monsters, and mystery figures.  These unique treats come in blind packages, meaning you can’t see what is inside.  Each package contains 1 of 16 different Minifigures.  Pictured below: the Witch (#4), the Skeleton (#11), and the Banshee (#14) along with the little booklet that each one comes with.  These are available at various retailers, but they are selling fast!

Lego Monster Minifigures

Lego Monster Minifigures

Two kings of the snack world, Chips Ahoy! and TombStone Pizza are also getting into the Halloween spirit.  Chips Ahoy! is offering up special holiday chocolate-chip cookies with the orange chocolate chips.  The packaging is also themed to the season.  And TombStone Pizza is, once again, the “official pizza of Halloween,” and that means monsters on the packages.  Each of the pizza varieties has its own creepy character.  Check ’em out!

The Other Telco: The Economy Motion-ettes of Halloween

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The following is a sub-article about the economy line of the Telco Motion-ettes of Halloween.  To read the full article on the history of Telco and the 24″ line of Motion-ettes, click here.

After the initial Side of 18 inch Telco Boxsuccess of the 24″ line, Telco opted to expand its offerings to a wider consumer base.  The 24″ electric Motion-ettes retailed at $69.99, a fairly hefty price for a Halloween decoration in the 1980s.  As such, Telco decided to create an economy line of animated figures that could be purchased by Halloween enthusiasts on a budget, thus the 18″ battery-operated Motion-ettes of Halloween were born.

The first wave of figures included smaller versions of the original Witch and Vampire, as well as smaller versions of the 1988 Monster and  Ghost.  This debut line varied greatly from the economy Motion-ettes that followed.  The most noticeable difference was the size of the lighted accessory each figure held.  The first wave had larger accessories than the versions that succeeded.  The second difference was that these figures included AC adapters, meaning that they could be powered by electricity in addition to batteries.  There were some minor variations in certain characters as well.  The hair on the first edition Witch resembled that of her 24″ counterpart, meaning it was fluffy.  She was later given curly hair.  It should also be noted that early editions of the Monster came equipped with a skull accessory as opposed to the more traditional lantern.  Over the years, the economy line became more standardized.  The AC adapters were phased out and the accessories became smaller.  The initial four figures continued to be produced and additional ones were added, including a green Beastman and a Skeleton, neither of which had accessories.  An alternate version of the Witch was introduced later on.  And, at one point, Telco was offering both its original Witch and the alternate Witch.  Lighted eyes and “spooky sounds” were trademarks of the 18″ line, with most of the figures coming with the iconic electronic wailing sound that defined Halloween in the early 1990s.

Once Telco acquired a license from Universal Studios, they debuted an 18″ line featuring official Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolf Man, and  Creature from the Black Lagoon figures.  The Bride of Frankenstein and the Mummy came out the following year, but neither were as big of sellers as the original four.  Some retailers carried 16″ variants, which causes confusion among collectors to this day.  These figures did away with the lighted accessories, but maintained the lighted eyes.  The electronic wailing was replaced with “life-like” laughter, moaning, roaring, and cackling, depending on the character.

In 1990, Telco debuted an intermediate line of Motion-ettes, slightly larger than the battery operated counterparts, but much smaller than the 24″ line.  These were electric-powered figures and included the aforementioned “life-like” sounds.  The Witch, Ghost, Vampire and Monster were part of this special line that is often confused with the other two on the secondary market.

To read the main article about the Telco Motion-ettes, the original animated figures of Halloween, and to learn about special figures released in the economy line, click here.

Spook Spotter: Disney Halloween Figurines

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The following does not constitute an endorsement of any product or retailer.   It is for information purposes only.

CVS Pharmacy has been carrying a line of Disney Halloween figures for the past few years.  This year, they have a ”swell” grouping of Disney fan favorites.  Among this year’s line-up are FrankenGoof (or Goofenstein!) and Donald “Devil” Duck, both pictured below.  They are also carrying a Pumpkin King Mickey, Pumpkin Queen Minnie and a Pirate Pluto.  What other cool Disney Halloween merchandise have you spotted this year?

Universal Monsters Hawthorne Village Collection Guide

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The following does not constitute an endorsement of any product or retailer.   It is for information purposes only.

In the mid-2000s, the Bradford Exchange acquired the license to the Universal Studios Monsters and began to produce highly detailed collectibles based upon these timeless characters and their respective films.  The company created a train set (featuring images of the Monsters), as well as miniature figurines, and, of course, a haunted holiday village comprised of several famous buildings and structures from the Universal Monster movies.

The collection, part of the Hawthorne Village, could be obtained by purchasing a subscription, where a new 7″ building and scale figurine would be shipped every month.  With the help of our Internet friends who own the collection, The Big Scare has compiled the following collector’s guide.  Special thanks to Ms. Mapes for sharing photos of her collection with The Big Scare, and for allowing us to snap some of her very spooky scenes during our visit.

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THE BUILDINGS

The following list is the sum total of the buildings issued in the Universal Monster Collection.  They are listed in order of their release:

Dr. Frankenstein’s Lab with Frankenstein Monster figure
Dracula’s Castle with Count Dracula figure
The Mummy’s Tomb with Kharis figure
The Creature’s Black Lagoon with Gill Man figure
The Wolf Man’s Lair with Wolf Man figure
Frankenstein’s Burning Windmill with Monster and Henry Frankenstein figure
The Bride of Frankenstein’s Castle with Bride of Frankenstein figure
The Phantom’s Paris Opera House with Phantom figure
The Invisible Man’s Inn with Invisible Man figure
Transylvania Train Station with Train Conductor figure
The Mummy’s Museum with Imhotep figure
Frankenstein’s Cottage with Frankenstein and Maria figure
Burial Site  (Frankenstein) with Fritz figure
Gothic Cathedral  with Lurking Dracula figure
Fortune Tellar Campsite with Bela the Gypsy figure
The Creature’s Haunted Rita with Dr. Reed figure
House Of Dracula with Dr. Edelman figure
Castle Frankenstein with Monster on rock figure
Ritual Chamber  with Boiling Pot figure
The Invisible Man’s Demise with Policeman figure
The Creature’s Excavation Site with Excavation figure
The Wolf Man’s Mansion with mustached Talbot figure
 

DEVIL IN THE DETAILS

The first house in the collection is Frankenstein’s Laboratory.  Like all the buildings, it measures about 7″ in height.  The design is partially inspired by the lab as seen in the 1931 classic, but it takes influences from other famous movie structures as well.  Bats and torches adorn the walls.  And Fritz, Frankenstein’s mad assistant, can be seen peeking out from the window.

The second piece in the series is Dracula’s Castle.  This one is almost completely inspired by the castle seen in the 1931 movie.  It is very detailed.  There are evil trees surrounding the property, vines climbing the walls, and dozens of bats – including some encircling the topmost tower.

The next building in the collection is The Mummy’s Tomb.  This one is very neat, because it has a whole area where you can display figures on the actual piece.  You can position characters just outside the entrance to the tomb and all along the walkway.  Of course, that makes for great scenes, especially when Kharis is involved!  This one even has torches that light up!

As you can tell by the photos, the Hawthorne Village pieces are very detailed, most of that detail comes from the delicate sculpting.  Every shingle has texture.  Every stone in the wall has depth.  This is what sets these pieces apart from similar villages from the likes of Department 56 and Lemax.  The paint schemes, however, fall somewhere between those of  the detail-oriented Department 56 villages and the mass-produced application of Lemax.  But they aren’t really anything to complain about, considering that these buildings are actually smaller than your average Lemax or Department 56 piece.  Taking that into consideration, they are actually fairly good.  The pieces don’t give off too much light, but that is where exterior ambiance lighting comes into play.  And the Universal Monsters buildings lend themselves wonderfully to that!

The Wolf Man’s Lair is the fifth structure in the collection.  This one takes a lot of liberties, but it is one of the most desired of the collection nonetheless.  It comes complete with its own full moon and an interior courtyard that is perfect for making little scenes with the monster accessories.

The seventh piece in the series is the Bride of Frankenstein’s Castle.  This one lends itself well to the Gothic theme of the village.  With its series of chimneys and vine-covered walls, it manages to combine the classy with the creepy, just like the Bride herself!  This piece comes along with its own Bride of Frankenstein figure, striking a very familiar pose.

The eighth structure in the collection is the very forbidding Phantom’s Paris Opera House.  This building has the most unique design of all and is very detailed.  It has a ton of windows, but the “stone” figures which adorn the roof are probably the most eye-catching decorations on this one!

Issue number nine is The Invisible Man’s Inn.  It is probably one of the most-detailed in the collection.  The accessory that comes along with it, the Invisible Man himself, is also one of the best accessories in this village collection.  He’s not all there – you can see through his hand!

The final piece we will be showcasing comes from later on in the collection.  It is called the “Haunted Rita,” based on the boat of the same name in Creature from the Black Lagoon.  Coming in at issue number sixteen, it is probably one of the most popular pieces – if only because it is one of the most iconic images from any Universal Monster film.  Can you spot the Gill Man’s claw coming from out of the water?

VILLAGE ACCESSORY SETS

While the buildings themselves each came with a “free” accessory, the Bradford Exchange offered a separate line filled with additional figures and scene-setters.  There were thirteen sets of figures released in total.  Each set included two to four figures.  The following list details the contents of each set.

1.  It’s Alive! – Dr. Frankenstein, Fritz, and the Monster rising from his slab
2.    Dracula Rises – Dracula and victim, Dracula rising from his coffin, Dracula hiding in the garden
3.    Mummy’s Curse – Imhotep, Mummy in Sarcophagus, Ankh-es-en-amon and Imhotep
4.    Black Lagoon – Captain Lucas, Dr. Reed, Creature in the water, and Kay on the rocks
5.    Beware the Full Moon – Maleva in the wagon and the Wolf Man trapped in the forest
6.    Frankenstein’s Town Mob – Man with dogs, Villagers with torches, and the Monster
7.    Bride of Frankenstein – Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Pretorius, and the Bride in bandages
8.    Phantom of the Opera – Phantom Fleeing, Phantom and Christine in boat, and Christine at tomb
9.    Invisible Man – Invisible Man in lab, Invisible Man outside, Villagers
10.  Uncovering Artifacts – Various Archaeologists, “tools,” and “maps”
11.  Dracula’s Vampires – Count Dracula in the catacombs and his three brides
12.  Grave Robbers – Fritz with cart, Elizabeth, Dr. Waldman, and Priest
13.  Searching for the Creature – Archaeologists and “Creature Claw Rock”

The figures are only a few inches tall, but they are jam-packed with detail. Take a look for yourself.

Universal Studios Monsters Village Frankenstein Scene

Thank you, Ms. Mapes for sharing your collection with all of us!

If you enjoyed this page, check out the other sections of the site for more articles about haunted villages, decorations, and, of course, the world famous Universal Studios Monsters!

Spook Spotter: Dollar Finds: Paper Monsters Play Set

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The following does not constitute an endorsement of any product or retailer.   It is for information purposes only.

While browsing through the 99¢ Only Store, we stumbled on a most amazing phenomenon…something so incredible, we mistrust our own judgement.  Look!

What you see above is a very unique item featuring great looking monsters and a cool haunted house.  And while we aren’t entirely certain what it is supposed to be, we decided to call it a Monster play set.  Despite the fact that the package insists this is not a toy, we are uncertain what else it could be.  Oh, of course, they can call it a “centerpiece” all they want, but with 8 stand-up monster figures and a haunted house, a paper play set is more likely.

Included with the haunted house are small cutout figures: a vampire, werewolf, Grim Reaper, witch, mummy, skeleton, scary scarecrow, and a Frankenstein Monster who will look awfully familiar to many a monster kid.

Take a look at this beauty for yourself at your local 99¢ Only.  Well that’s a wrap for September.  Join us next week as we kick off October with The Big Scare’s Halloween Activities Week – 2012 edition.

Halloween Home Entertainment Preview: Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection

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Welcome ghouls and boys to another week of thrills, chills, and spills on The Big Scare.  This week, we have a complete lineup of the “must-have” home entertainment releases of the season.

The News:

A number of classic films have been released on Blu-Ray this year in honor of Universal Studios’ 100th Anniversary.  And now that autumn is upon us, the stuff that Horror is made of is finally being released in HD.  The first major collection we are featuring is entitled Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection.  According to the official press release, the set includes newly remastered classics from the Master for Suspense.  There are fifteen films in the collection: SaboteurShadow of a DoubtRope, Rear WindowThe Trouble with HarryThe Man Who Knew Too MuchVertigoNorth by Northwest, PsychoThe BirdsMarnieTorn CurtainTopazFrenzy, and Family Plot.  Trailers and other bonus materials are included for each film.  Click here for more information. 

A 50 page collectible book is also included in the set.  The collection is being released next week, on September 25.

The suggested retail price is $299.98, but discounts are available at various retailers.

The Views:

So just how good are these movies anyway?

This collection contains some “must haves” if you are a fan of the genre or the director.  We wouldn’t say that every film in this collection qualifies as a  “masterpiece,” but there are enough true Hitchcock classics in here to warrant the title.  Of course we can’t say anything bad about Psycho (1960) or The Birds (1963).  Nor can we share negative thoughts on North by Northwest or Vertigo, the latter of which was named the best film of all timeRear Window is another fantastic film.  Each of these earns 5 Bates Motels out of 5 Bates Motels in our book.  As for the others?  We invite you to rate them yourself.  Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

*The pictures on this page are of models and figures and are not from any film.   They were taken by THE BIG SCARE.